In our new book, The Before You Marry Book of Questions, we offer plenty of personal reflection and ample interactions for a couple to complete, if you will “dates to decide” through some “coffee and conversation.” One of the best places to begin the discernment process in a relationship is to take an honest look in the mirror and ask “Am I - is my life—relationship ready?”  

If you are single and not dating, you can use this as a goal setting sheet to be better prepared by creating a  “Life ready to invite someone to share.” If you are dating someone exclusively or seriously, then this is definitely a needed inventory for you each to complete—and ask then take a second time asking if they one you are interested in, the one you love is ready for the most important commitment—marriage. Do a quick inventory and see just how ready you might be for a more serious relationship that is leading to marriage:

How Ready Am I?

  • Have you been on your own? (Are you paying for your own housing, food, personal items, car, phone, insurance, etc? Are you responsible for your own personal decisions, schedule, life course plan?)
     
  • Are you out of debt or do you have a plan you have implemented to reduce your debt and pay off loans in a consistent manner?
     
  • Do you have a strong plan and direction for your life?
     
  • Do you have a job and career and seen any measure of success in this, or have you a clear path to college or grad school graduation?
     
  • Do you have a dependable, authentic group of friends whom you can confide in and you trust their opinions and counsel?
     
  • Do you have a healthy relationship with your parents, grandparents and extended family—or have you sought to have one from your side of the relationship?
     
  • Have you dealt with your own family of origin issues (either of your parents have addictions, abandon you, abuse you, etc?) Have you pursued counsel or mentoring to overcome those hurts?
     
  • Have you acknowledged and forgiven any hurts from past relationships?
     
  • Have you dealt with any of your own demons (drugs, drinking, and pornography, sexual promiscuity, gambling or shopping addictions)?
     
  • Have you finished and closed the doors on all past relationships? (you are not seeing a person from your past or carrying romantic feelings for him or her.)
     
  • Have you completed all details of past relationships? (Is the divorce FINAL (not just separated; if children are involved has a custody settlement been agreed upon? Have you divided property? )
     
  • If you were in a serious dating relationship, or previous engagement or marriage, have you given yourself time to regroup and readjust to life lived as a solo person? (One healthy time gauge would be one month off ALL dating relationships for each year you were with a person as a MINIMUM. For example: If you dated 2 years, were engaged a year then broke it off, you should not even go on any kind of a date for at least three months. Most people require double this (so six months breathing room). If you lived with someone or a marriage ended, you should double this again. So if you dated two years, engaged one and married for three, at minimum give yourself a year or even two to recover or regroup. )
     
  • If you have children, are they at a place they can handle change or a new person entering your life? (Kids are NOT as resilient as you would want them to be. It is wise to consult a professional licensed counselor who specializes in children before exposing your children to romantic relationships. Use the wisdom of those who have a proven track record of helping children and families to add to your own wisdom in order to due your due diligence before making life altering decisions. )
     
  • Do you have a personal growing relationship with God in a way you can sense when God is leading and guiding your life?

You should have marked all these yes and if you have not, then those are the areas you will want to make forward movement on before jumping into a serious dating relationship, engagement or marriage. Things do not need to be perfect, but from your side of any and all relationships, have you tried to make things “right”?

A smart person will seek out the best mentors in life—and in love. If you are brave, ask two or three of your mentors to also answer these questions with you in mind. How ready do he/she think you are for marriage?  It is our hope that the fun “dates to decide,” the creative conversation starters, and the deeper interactive in The Before You Marry Book of Questions will mentor you to discover, decide then enjoy a love for a lifetime.

Pam and Bill Farrel are international speakers, authors of over 38 books including this new book, The Before You Marry Book of Questions as well as bestselling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. To learn more go to www.Love-Wise.com

Publication date: November 6, 2013